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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

City’s new recycling schedule to begin in May

UPDATED: Fri., Feb. 26, 2021

Micha Nisito works his route Friday in Spokane. The City of Spokane is moving to every-other-week curbside pickup in May.  (Kathy Plonka/The Spokesman-Review)
Micha Nisito works his route Friday in Spokane. The City of Spokane is moving to every-other-week curbside pickup in May. (Kathy Plonka/The Spokesman-Review)

The city of Spokane will reduce recycling collection to every other week starting in May.

City officials have been planning for the change since it was approved by the Spokane City Council last year in response to the increasing cost of recycling.

The new recycling schedule will not affect garbage pickup from brown carts, which will continue to occur every week.

Biweekly recycling collection will officially begin the first week of May, but the exact routes and pickup dates have yet to be determined, the city explained in a blog post this week. When that process is finished, routes and collection dates will be posted on the city website.

The cost of recycling has steadily increased in recent years, a problem not unique to Spokane. Since China adopted stricter standards for accepting imported materials, many communities have struggled to find a profitable market for the recycled materials.

Spokane opted to reduce recycling collection as a way to cut the program’s cost without increasing service rates. The decision was made as the city expected to lose about $1.4 million on recycling in 2020, a steep reversal since the program last broke even in 2013.

The city collects about 21,000 tons of recycling every year, which is sorted at the Spokane Materials and Recycling Technology Center operated by Waste Management.

The new schedule is expected to save the city about $900,000 every year and, through attrition, reduce the number of city jobs by about seven people. In reducing its recycling collection to every other week, Spokane joins several other cities, including Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia.

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